2020 start

Intercultural Communication and International Development

School of Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences

The world needs developers who can communicate across cultural boundaries and bring people together. You'll learn best practice for effective communication at work across a wide range of cultural groups, and develop your communication skills in more than one language.
Image of discussion between postgraduate students in the department of languages and cultures

Course description

This interdisciplinary course is designed to produce international development practitioners with advanced intercultural communication skills.

You'll develop a critical understanding of the role culture and communication play in international development. You’ll also learn the theory and practice of intercultural communication and international development, and how to apply these to real-life situations. 

On our MA you'll develop essential skills in ethnographic research and form systematic approaches to understanding others’ perspectives. This course will help you develop an intercultural lens on the world’s most pressing problems.

The course includes a ten-day field class overseas that provides hands-on experience of research. Recent destinations have included Nepal and Tanzania.

  • In a global society based on fairness, everyone’s voice should be heard. The world needs developers who can communicate across cultural boundaries and bring people together. As a graduate of this course, you’ll be well placed to make a difference.
  • This course is highly flexible – through optional modules you’ll have a variety of ways to develop your language skills and interests.

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Core modules

  • Concepts and Approaches in Intercultural Communication
  • Reflective Practice: Ethnography
  • Intercultural Communication in Practice
  • International Development Field Class
  • Ideas and Practice in International Development
  • Dissertation with Placement
  • Research Methods in Modern Languages and Cultures
  • Study and Dissertation Support

Optional modules

Examples include:

  • International Management
  • Language in Context
  • International Project Management
  • Translation Skills
  • Enhanced Languages Project 1
  • Enhanced Languages Project 2
  • Tandem Learning for Intercultural Communication
  • Localisation for Linguists
  • Global Languages
  • Urban Development in the Global South
  • Cities of Diversity
  • Cities of the South: Planning for Informality
  • Key Issues in Environment and Development
  • Understanding Environmental Change
  • Living with Climate Change


Lectures, seminars, small-group work and workshops.

Field class and dissertation placement

You’ll also take a ten-day field class overseas. The cost of the field trip class is included in the fees.

There will be an extra cost for the dissertation placement (which is often in the global south) but it's great experience and value for money.

Our students are placed with some of the world's leading international agencies on the dissertation placement. Most of our placements are in the global south. We have some in the UK, and even a few in Sheffield, but unless you have overriding reasons (such as caring responsibilities) you should expect to do your placement outside the UK. 

Costs vary depending on the location of the placement – whether overseas or in the UK. You'll need to think about the cost of flights, accommodation, food and transport, which can add up to around £1,500 in addition to your tuition fees.


You’re assessed on coursework and a dissertation. The dissertation involves a work placement (often undertaken in the global south) with a development organisation.


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time.

Postgraduate Cameron Fay, Intercultural Communication and International Development

The scholarship I received has allowed me to pursue my ambitions of undertaking an MA in Intercultural Communication and International Development. Coming from a low-income background, without it I would not have been able to fund my masters for many years. It has taken much of the financial stress out of studying and, as I am not having to work too many hours to fund my living costs, I am able to dedicate some hours towards volunteering with a local refugee centre.

It also allows me to engage fully with the course and take advantage of the opportunity to go on the field trip to either the Galapagos, Tanzania or Nepal, and to gain professional experience with an NGO in Mozambique!

Cameron Fay
MA Intercultural Communication and International Development

Entry requirements

A 2:1 in an arts or social sciences subject and an advanced working knowledge of two languages (CEFR B1/B2).

English language requirements

Overall IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Entry requirements for international students


You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now


+44 114 222 0631

+44 114 222 7900

The course information set out here may change before you begin, particularly if you are applying significantly in advance of the start date.